LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One of the unsettling challenges some children will face when heading back to the classroom is bullying.
One father’s tragic story helped launch an anonymous reporting system for students called SafeVoice.
“We had no idea, you know,” said Jason Lamberth, parent.
He says he found out his daughter Hailee was the victim of bullying after she took her own life in 2013.
“For whatever reason, Hailee didn’t tell us about it, and the school neglected to fill their obligation and inform us,” Lamberth said.
He became a driving force behind SafeVoice launched in 2018.
The I-Team obtained information on the number of reports made to SafeVoice and it revealed bullying as the number one reported concern.
The Nevada Department of Education reports more than 1,700 tips in the Clark County School District just from January 2018 through July 2019 and more than 2,400 for the state.
“Absolutely, I think part of the increase in the number of reports in bullying is attributable to young people being more aware of what type of behavior constitutes bullying and not being afraid to speak up knowing that it’s OK to report it and tell somebody what they’re going through and that it’s not OK and that they don’t feel safe,” Lamberth said.
He also pushed for Hailee’s Law which passed in 2015. It led to the creation of the state Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment which provides training, intervention and other resources to combat bullying.
The law also requires disciplinary action to be taken against school staff who do not inform parents their children are being bullied.
“That was the number one aspect of Hailee’s Law,” Lamberth said. “I think was that we were denied the opportunity to intervene and help Hailee. You know no parent should be denied that opportunity. If all the protocols and policies had been followed, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”
Lamberth would have done anything and everything to save his daughter. Now, he is making sure his daughter and her struggles are not forgotten.
“You know it’s a heavy lift. It’s a cultural change. It’s not going to happen overnight. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort and most importantly, just persistence.”
Lamberth did sue the Clark County School District. After a nasty fight put up by the district, his family was awarded a $700,000 settlement. But for a parent who lost a child, he says no monetary amount will help bring his daughter back.
Lamberth has also started an anti-bullying organization called Hailee’s Hope.